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Us 23, U.s. 19, Seattle 7, Washington 6, Houston 4, Mcginn 3, Yemen 3, Tsa Precheck 3, United States 2, Biden 2, Frank Cownie 2, John 2, Tsa 2, America 2, California 2, Newtown 2, Obama 2, Pistole 1, Aurora 1, Clinton Administration 1,
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  CSPAN    C-SPAN2 Weekend    News/Business. News.  

    January 19, 2013
    7:00 - 8:00am EST  

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>> if you look at vulnerable points in the global system, the global aviation system particularly, and so every attack, attempted attack that we have seen since 9/11 has been from overseas. now, there's 275 or so airports that have nonstop service to the u.s., so what we do is work in partnership with those airports to make sure their baseline security, protocols and policies are at least at the point that it meets international standards. and so we work through the u.n., the international civil aviation association to raise those standards to a point where we
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can have some confidence that the security being provided at those last points of departure to the u.s. are similar to ours. so we believe that we have the best security in the world. it is the gold standard, and that's why terrorists have looked elsewhere. i'll just highlight three incidents in the last three years that demonstrate, unfortunately, the dedication of the terrorists, particularly al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula, the lengths they will go to to try to blow up a u.s.-bound airliner. so we just go back to christmas day three years ago which you're all familiar with, with the young knew gene man -- nigerian man who was given a bomb with no metal in it. that's the reason we have the advanced imaging technology here in the u.s., body scanners as they're referred to sometimes.
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because those enable us to pick up nonmetallic as well as metallic items. let's have those as a deterrent to force the terrorists to come up with new and innovative ideas. forchew fatally, that attack did not occur because, simply, there were some technical issues with the device as the young man flew from amsterdam to detroit. fast forward two years to or two years ago, october 2010, where you may recall there were two packages sent from yemen to chicago as the ultimate destination. fortunately, because of some outstanding international cooperation, intelligence work by a foreign security or service, we were given the tracking numbers or for those two devices, or for those two packages. one was on fedex, one was on ups, and both of them had computer printers that had toner cartridges in them that were actually bombs. we got the tracking numbers, we
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provided those to foreign security officials in the united kingdom. they went and found those packages, opened them up and both said, no, no device here. we said, no, this is really good intelligence, go back. on the second occasion in inspection, they found it. on the third, the other incident it took them three times to find it. is so what we're seeing is that there is a mast orer bomb maker in yemen who is training others. this bomb maker made not only those two devices i'm talking about, the underwear device is the first one, also used a similar type of device to use his younger brother as a suicide bomber to try to kill a saudi official. fast forward now to just this past year. april of last year, there is another updated attempt, again on a u.s. passenger airliner was the intended goal, al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula in yemen gave this device to a terrorist, and the instructions were get on
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a u.s.-bound aircraft, wait until you get over u.s. air space and blow the plane up. now, fortunately for us, this terrorist was actually a double agent for another foreign security service. that individual was able to extricate himself and the device out of yemen, provide that device to u.s. officials which brought the device back here, and we analyzed the device. and, unfortunately for aviation security worldwide, this is a new, improved underwear type device. if you look at the glass on your table, it was not even that wide. it was a little bit longer than that, very small and easily conceal bl. fortunately, this agent was a double agent. that's the challenge we're dealing with. we're facing a terrorist group that is innovative in their design, their construction and their concealment of devices. so that's why tsa provides
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security at our 450 airports. obviously, we don't provide security overseas, as you all know. but the notion is how can we use that information in an intelligence-based way. so what i wanted to share with you here is how we have changed our one size fits all approach that was stood up after 9/11, aware of all the threats out there. if you hear anything about risk-based security, it's the notion that we cannot expect to provide a 100% guarantee. we screen 1.8 million passengers an average every day, over two million carry-on bags, so nearly six million people or bags every day that we screen. and so what we try to do is buy that risk, mitigate or manage risk just as you do in your jobs as mayors. you try to manage those situations. so what this is is a recognition of that and how we can work in
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partnership with the traveling public to say if you're willing to share some information about yourselves wuss, we can do pre-- with us, we can do prescreening so we can do expedited screening. we are operating in 35 airports around the country, we'll be expanding to several more airports this year. and what that means is if you are a known and trusted traveler, then you go to a dedicated lane, you keep your shoes on, your belt on, you keep your liquid, aerosols and gels in your carry-on bag and your laptop. it helps us from a security standpoint because we can spend more time on those we know the least about and expedite those who are known and trusted. now, i think all of you would consider yourselves to be known and trusted, so we would like to work with you in possibilities of including mayors in terms of a known, trusted population.
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we have a booth out here, a table out here where we are working with people to sign up for -- there's two ways. one is signing up for what's called global entry that allows for expedited reentry to the country when you come back to the u.s. that also qualifiers you for tsa precheck. precheck's just one of the policy changes we have done in this paradigm shift of moving from a one size fits all. for those of you who know somebody who's 75 and older or the and under, they can keep their shoes on and a light jacket. we have about 100,000 passengers every day, members of our military. in the past we treated them as if they were untrusted, recognizing that there's no guarantees. there's always an exception to the rule. and so we always will keep random and unpredictable as part of the process. pilots and flight attendants, we have them now over 95% of them,
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170,000 a week go through a different way of screening as opposed to jamming up the regular passenger lines where we they have, you know, they cut in and everything. so there's other -- members of the u.s. intelligence community, 16 agencies with top secret compartmented clearances. we know a lot about them, and so why should we treat them the same as if we had no information about them? so that's part of what this risk-based security initiative is. as we move forward with that, the idea in 2013 and beyond is how do we expand that known and trusted population. so what we are interested in doing is working with you in identifying groups of people that may fit those categories of known and trusted, those who may want to sign up for global entry. we're looking at some other opportunities. for those who don't have passports but who may be interested in having the tsa precheck benefits, there may be some type of expedited process for that. global entry is $100 for five
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years, $20 a year, but you do have to have a passport. so we're working through some of those details. just wanted to make you aware of those. as we mauve away from the one -- move away from the one size fits all concept to be more tailored and precise in the both our passenger and cargo screening. for those of you who are mayors of cities of size that have airports that are economic drivers or engines for your loaning community, you know how important it is to have good security, so our job is to make sure we can provide for the free movement of people and goods with the best possible security. thank you for your time this morning, look forward to any questions. [applause] >> we do appreciate you being here, and you accurately described the tension. houston has -- we have three airports, and we want safety,
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but we want passengers to move, and we depend on international traffic. what are we doing to make sure that international business people can get in and do the business that helps our economy? >> sure, there's a number of initiatives underway to facilitate better visa issuance, if you will, trying to be more welcoming for both business and tourism, and those are things that are taking part, obviously, in different areas of the government. one thing we're doing in tsa is trying to develop international known and trusted traveler programs that we can recognize. so, for example, we've taken the first step with our friends to the north. canada has a known trusted traveler program called nexus. they have 530,000 citizens who are in the program, and so we have accepted them as part of tsa precheck also. mexico has a program, sentry, we're working with the mexican
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authorities to try to recognize that known and trusted population. so there's a number of initiatives underway that would help promote not only people coming to the u.s., but also u.s. citizens traveling internationally because right now tsa precheck is just a domestic program. what we're working with internationally is for those who go through precheck here to be allowed to travel internationally. >> we do have time for a few questions. mayor? anyone? thank you, sir. >> all right, ma'am. thank you. thank you. [applause] >> now we're going to have a brief report from seattle mayor mike mcginn who's been spearheading our efforts related to human trafficking. in particular, our efforts to require certain publications such as backpage.com and other
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classified services to implement in-person age verification and in the exploitation of children through their services. mayor mcginn? >> thank you. thank you, mayor parker, for inviting me to this. this month, by the way s the national human slavery and traffic and prevention month, and our city council has passed a resolution calling attention to it. i'd urge you to do the same. the u.s. conference of mayors' meeting in orlando, the conference passed a resolution calling on backpage.com to reform its practices to end the sexual exploitation of minors, and i wanted to give you an update on that. but before doing that, just describe the problem briefly. we know that when we took a look at king county and our seattle region there was somewhere between three or five hundred
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underage young women who were being sold for sex online in the area. and that was kind of shocking to us. and it's not as well known a problem be as, you know, it should be. and i invite you to take a look locally. i don't think this is a seattle problem, i just think we're seeing what's happening in a lot of places. basically, what happens is vulnerable young women whether they're immigrants or just a bad situation at how many or maybe not are preyed upon by pimps, and they are forced into this life of being sold for sex. and they're vulnerable, it's a very abusive, dominating relationship, kind of similar to the situations, emotional situations of domestic violence in a way. and these young women are controlled. and it's very horrifying. we've changed our philosophy and practices in seattle to one where we changed our vice unit to our vice and high risk victims unit. and the major point of the
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change was to view these individuals as victims of crime, not as perpetrators of crime. and when we recover a young woman, we work to -- we have a program called the bridge to give them place to stay, wrap around services and try to take them out of this life which is challenging, too, because the pimp and the other people working with the pimp will work to bring this person back if they can. they create an environment in which this person is very fearful and may return again to it. so what we know is that the internet has changed how this works. it's no longer somebody walking a street. it's advertised online. and backpage.com is one of the chief places where it happens. over the last couple of years, our police department has recovered over 25 young women that were advertised for sale b on backpage.com. and when you go, you have a chance and you go online, look up your city on backpage.com, and you will find b that escorts are being advertised in your city.
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now, you don't know whether those are over 18 or under 18, but i can tell you neither does back page. they will say they will work on it, but we asked them, and the u.s. conference of mayors asked them to require them to have in-person age verification with id for everyone they advertise as an escort, and they refused. now, we brought pressure on them, attorney generals across the country did, state leaders did, and backpage.com was a wholly owned subsidiary of village voice media, and as a result of that pressure -- and i want to thank all of you for your help in this -- village voice media divested itself of backpage m.com. so that was a success story. unfortunately, there's bad news as well. state senator jeannie cole wells passed legislation saying that, you know, to advertise children for sale on the internet would be criminal if you facilitated
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that. and the affirmative defense to the crime would be if you had in-person age verification. that would be an affirmative defense for companies like back page. back page went to the court, cited the federal communications decency act which has provisions to prevent, you know, internet companies or those doing things online from being held liable for the actions of others. and they said we were completely preempted from the field and their freedom of speech rights trumped, this new criminal law. and unfortunately, they prevailed. now, i don't think congress when it passed the federal communications decency act meant to allow companies to with kind of knowing disregard for the effects of their practices to enable this. but this is the challenge we face still and that we're preempted from the field. so we're going to try to go back again and work on this. backpage.com makes millions of dollars a year off of this practice. it's one of their primary
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practices s escort advertising, and they refuse to stop it. other online advertising companies that have this practice don't have the same problem. that's what my police department reports to me. the next step we're taking in seattle is we're going to have a conference of mayors up and down the i-5 corridor because what we know is these young women are brought from town to town. seattle police department studied this, and they tracked one phone number, all right, that was being advertised. and, again, we don't know whether it was underage or not, but neither does back page. and of course it was in the big cities, but it was also in little cities like moses lake and bend, and this person is just transported from place to place. so the capacity of our police departments to respond to that and catch up to it is challenging. so we're working with a local company, microsoft, to work on better technological solutions so in realtime, um, our police departments can share information and potentially interdict this. b and, you know, in the field
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right then and there is there a young m woman who we should be seeking to recover, is there a pimp we should be seeking to arrest? we'll also, of course, try to bring more pressure upon the men who do this. now, the internet has really accelerated in this trade. we need new tools to attempt to combat it. and i was talking to the tsa administrator there, they also play a role in this. so i'm sure there's more that can be done. again, i want to thank you for elevating this issue. it's a very uncomfortable issue i'll say as a mayor to talk about this, to understand there are young women in our community being exploited in this way is horrible, and it's hard to believe it's as bad as it is. but again, i want to impress upon you, it is happening in your community too. and we all need to come together to find a way to change the climate where men feel like it's okay to go online and buy this, and we need to have better tools to combat it, and maybe we need
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to take a look at our own federal laws about what is or is not free speech or appropriate regulation. so thank you all for your work. [applause] >> anyone have any questions for mayor mcginn? now, he is targeting a particular aspect of the trafficking of underage women for sexual purposes, but i know many of us have problems in our cities with human trafficking. houston is a major transport point for human trafficking, and i have a human trafficking task force that deals with both domestic and international trade in human beings. and we tend to think of it as being the sex trade, but it is also for domestic labor. and it's a growing problem in
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the united states, and that may be whether it's a sex worker or it is a nanny who may be in involuntary service who's been brought over and confined to a household or the worker in your favorite nail salon, ladies, and whether they, in fact, are able to leave that salon and travel freely in cities. so it's something that we're gunning to -- beginning to look at by mayors. i have been joined by one of my co-chairs, mayor frank cownie from -- i'm sorry. >> [inaudible] >> des moines, iowa, thank you. and glad to have you here. we are expecting the attorney general shortly. they have assured me, as you know how this works, that he is imminently arriving. but i'm not quite sure. but i'm -- if there's no other questions on the human trafficking issue --
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>> [inaudible] >> yes, ma'am. >> i'm -- [inaudible] and i just had a chance to meet with the mayor of seattle and -- [inaudible] a little bit on the issue. [inaudible] converted to sexual traffic and probably grosses $400,000 a year easily with just two or three girls, and it's highly lucrative. what we're trying to do in our region is talk about a campaign that actually gets at the johns to talk to them about these are underage girls, this is not just sex, this is a crime. any sex with a girl under 18. and so i'm wondering whether or not you've been looking at, also, not only improving increasing the crimes against the people who are trafficking the girls, but also doing a public campaign sort of shaming people? be in our neighborhoods we've
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closed hotels down, but the neighbors are starting to take down the license plate numbers, and we're sending letters to the owners of these cars in these neighborhoods. we call it a dear john letter. [laughter] >> a dear john letter sounds like a really good with idea. >> that's my question. >> mayor mcginn, i don't know if you have anything you want to add to that, but i can tell you that we are trying to draw distinctions. prostitution is -- i don't consider it the oldest profession, i think politics is. [laughter] but it is a very old profession, and we're not specifically discussing that within the u.s. conference of mayors. we are, however, focusing on the human trafficking aspect of it where primarily with underage girls, but anyone who is involuntarily forced into one of these positions. and, actually, our next speaker is here. you know, again and again americans have been stunned by
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senseless acts of violence involving guns. from columbine in 1999 where 13 were killed to virginia tech in 2007, 32 murdered, fort hood in 2009, 13 murdered and tucson, aurora in 2012, 12 murdered, oak creek 2012, six murdered, and then, of course, the december 14th tragedy which killed 20 young children and six educators in newtown. that incident still is incomprehensible to most of us. too many times during the last year mayors have expressed shock at a mass shooting and even more frequently we must cope with gun violence that occurs on the streets of our own cities. the u.s. conference of mayors has been calling for sensible
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gun laws to protect the public for more than 40 years. it's not a new issue for us. may or yours and police chiefs from cities of all sizes have worked together in this effort over the years. in an open letter to the president and the congress sent just three days after the newtown tragedy occurred, the conference of mayors sent a statement urging immediate action. now more than 200 mayors have signed on to the letter, and we are calling on our president to exercise his powers through either executive order or action of the congress to introduce and pass legislation to make reasonable changes in our gun laws and regulations. specifically, we called on congress to enact legislation to ban assault-style weapons and high capacity magazines. we asked them to strengthen the national background check system and eliminate loopholes within it and to strengthen the penalties for straw purchases of guns.
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we're very well aware that preventing gun violence whether it is a mass shooting in a school or just a murder on a street corner will take much more than strengthening our gun laws. we have a culture of violence in our nation so that a violent act shouldn't be the first response of settling a difference or compensating for a wrong. what can we do about that? we need to strengthen and more adequately fund our mental health system so we can identify troubleed people earlier. we are aware the affordable care act puts much more emphasis on mental health, and we need to make sure that we link the work that we need to do in preventing gun violence with access to appropriate mental health. the president, clearly heeded our call or else agrees with us. the plan, which he unveiled on tuesday and which you have a copy in front of you here at the
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table in which the vice president discussed with us yesterday, includes nearly everything we call for and much more. i welcome now the attorney general to of the united states, and i'm assuming that he will address that and many other issues along these lines. attorney general holder served as deputy attorney general during the clinton administration and as the u.s. attorney for the district of columbia. we appreciate the leadership which mr. holder has brought to the department. during his tenure we have seen a renewed commitment to two justice department programs that i cannot resist mentioning. one is the cop hiring grant and the burn justice assistance grant which has strengthened our cities as well. you have, mr. attorney general, have sharpened the national focus on violence prevention, especially among youth, and
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helped many of our cities to better focus our local efforts to combat violence. i know you are an important member of the vice president's working group, and it is our honor to have you here at the u.s. conference of mayors. [applause] >> thank you. well, good morning. or, i guess, good afternoon. or close. one of the two. [laughter] it's one of the two. thank you, mayor, for those kind words, and it's a pleasure or for me to be here today and a privilege to be included once again in this annual forum. i'd like to also thank mayor michael nutter along with the u.s. conference of mayors' executive committee and staff for all that you've done to make this year's winter meeting such a success. i'd like to thank every member of the criminal and social justice committee for the opportunity to take part in this important session. for more than eight decades, this organization has brought together dozens of our nation's
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best and brightest public servants to share ideas and expertise, to discuss mutual concerns and to form late the policy solutions that our cities, that our commitments and ultimately that our or citizens deserve. over the years i've had the chance to work with many of you to address some of the most complex and intractable public safety challenges that we all face. it's an honor to join with vice president biden, administrator pistole and other leaders from across the administration in continuing our work this week and adding my voice to this very critical dialogue. and i'm particularly grateful for this opportunity to thank each of you for your service, for your leadership and your partnership with one another, with key federal, state and local/tribal leaders and especially with the united states department of justice. every day america's mayors stand on the front lines of our fight against terrorism, crime and threats to the most vulnerable
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among us. your engagement is essential in protecting our citizens from harm, guarding against civil rights violations and combating the gun, gang and the drug-fueled violence that steals too many promising futures. you understand exactly what it is that we are up against. not only because you hear the alarming statistics and read the news stories, because you see it. you see it firsthand on a daily basis. most importantly, you recognize -- as i do -- all right? most importantly, you recognize -- as i do -- that no public safety challenge can be understood in isolation. and that none of us can make the progress that we need and can secure the results that our communities deserve on our own. now, this is particularly true when it comes to gun violence, an issue that in one way or another has touched everity and every -- every city and every town represented here and about
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which many of you have long been passionate advocates. the leaders in this room have joined with us to strengthen anti-violence initiativeses, especially in recent weeks as our nation has come together in the wake of last month's horrific events in newtown, connecticut. you've heard from your citizens and from your colleagues. you've built a bold, bipartisan consensus on the need to protect the most vulnerable among us, our children. and many of you are helping to lead efforts to heed and to honor the lessons of sandy hook elementary school and the realization that unacceptable levels of gun violence plague our cities and towns every day. now, this unspeakable tragedy, but also the individual tragedies that take place on your streets all too often and all too often unnoticed, stand as stark reminders of our shared responsibility to address not just the end dem cantic of
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gun-related crimes and the ongoing need for vigorous enforcement of our laws, but also the underlying conditions that give rise to gun violence. throughout our history the overwhelming majority of american gun owners have been responsible, law-abiding citizens. yet we have repeatedly seen in the most tragic ways how easy it can be for dangerous people to acquire and to wreak havoc with deadly weapons. now, although there's no single solution that can bring a decisive end to this senseless violence, it's incumbent upon each of us to try. and it's time to consider what common steps we can take together to save lives. you know, this means doing everything that we can to secure the tools and the resources that we need to keep guns out of the hands of those who are not and should not be allowed to possess them. it means taking actions to insure that while our second amendment rights are upheld, that we have the means to prosecute effectively those who would use firearms to commit
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acts of violence. and it means summoning the courage to confront even the most difficult, enduring and pervasive national challenges. now, i know that many of you participated in yesterday's session with the vice president in which he discussed the administration's efforts to combat gun violence, and the concrete, really common sense recommendations that president obama adopted earlier this week. as you know, and as the mayor indicated, i worked closely with the vice president. a number of my fellow cabinet members and representatives of more than 200 groups of experts, advocacy organizations, policymakers and private citizens to help formulate this plan. from law enforcement leaders to firearms openers and enthusiasts -- owners and enthusiasts, technology experts and gun safety advocates, from retailers to mental health professionals, members of the clergy, victims of gun violence and members of the entertainment industry, the conversations we had were frank, they were wide-ranging, and they were
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inclusive. and the consensus that emerged was clear. president obama said, and i quote: if there is even one thing, one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there is even one life that can be saved, then we have an obligation to try. this obligation is what drove the administration to propose a range of legislative remedies along with 23 executive actions to end mass shootings and to prevent gun violence. on wednesday president obama signed directives putting a number of these proposals into action. others will require legislation that will soon be introduced in congress and which we hope will receive timely consideration. and at every level of the administration, and particularly within the d. of justice, my colleagues and i will continue to do everything in our power to maximize enforcement efforts and to implement new recommendations for keeping our people safe in our cities, neighborhoods and schools secure. but we're not going to be able
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to do this alone. the fact is that our ability to tackle this challenge will depend on the willingnesses of millions of americans and thousands of dedicated public servants like you to engage with one another in order to make a positive difference. now, we can begin by calling for immediate, immediate congressional action. as the president indicated, congress should move swiftly to adopt legislation to require universe oral background checks -- universal background checks so that a full background check is conducted every time someone attempts to buy a gun. by taking this relatively simple step, we can significantly strengthen our ability to keep criminals and other dangerous individuals from gaining access to deadly weapons. and we can do so by starting today. by encouraging private sellers to run their transactions through the background system with the help of a licensed gun dealer. now, many licensed dealers
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throughout the country already facilitate firearms transfers between private individuals on a regular basis. and we are encouraging more or private sellers to work with licensed dealers to insure all sales are subject to a comprehensive background check. this can this can be done. of course, the effectiveness of these checks depends on the beingty of the national background check system as a whole. and to date, the system has proven remarkably effective enabling gun dealer ors to make more than 90%, 90% of background check determinations on the spot and roughly 95% within three business days. this has also helped us keep more than 1.5 million guns from falling into the wrong hands over the last 14 years. but we can and we must do even better by insuring the information included in the system is complete tearing down barriers that prevent even federal agencies and some states from sharing relevant records
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and making certain that our laws and our regulations are as effective as possible when it comes to identifying those who should not have access to firearms. this week president obama took executive action in support of these goals, addressing gaps in our national background check system, bringing accountability to the sources of information that it relies upon and insuring that federal law enforcement agencies become more uniform in tracing guns recovered during investigations. at the same time, he put an end to the virtual freeze on rigorous, nonpartisan research into gun violence by the centers for disease control. and has directed the cdc to resume examining the causes of this violence and evaluating strategies for its prevention. he has taken a variety of steps to reinforce the justice department's efforts to provide law enforcement with the tools, training and the resources that we need to prosecute gun-related crime and to respond to active shooter situations.
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in addition, at the president's direction the administration will issue guidelines making it clear that under existing laws doctors are in no way prohibited from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement. we will work with individual communities and school districts to develop plans to make our schools safer, and relevant authorities will finalize regulations within the affordable care act to increase access to mental health services for all who need them. now, let me be very clear. let me be very clear. not one of these executive orders, contrary to what a few have said, impinges upon anyone's second amendment rights or is inconsistent with the historical use of executive power. but all of this is really only just the beginning. in addition to these actions and proposals, the administration has called upon congress to renew legislation banning high capacity magazines including those used in recent
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high-profile maas shootings. to protect our police by getting rid of armor-piercing bullets. to pass a new assault weapons ban, b updated and stronger than the one enacted in 1994 to keep military-style weapons off of our streets and to consider a series of new federal laws imposing tough penalties on gun traffickers who help funnel weapons to dangerous criminals. these measures represent essential parts of any serious, any serious, comprehensive effort to eradicate gun violence, and today i join president obama, vice president biden and countless americans in urging congressional leaders to adapt -- to adopt them without delay. i'd also like to echo the president's call for the senate to confirm todd jones as director of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives. this is a critical justice department component that has been without a senate-confirmed leader for six years. and to eliminate misguided
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restrictions that require the atf to allow the importation of dangerous weapons simply because of their age. some have said that these changes will require tough votes. tough votes by members of congress. well, as you all know, public service is never easy, and there come times when those of us who are in this elected or appointed positions must put the interests of those who we serve, we are privileged to serve, above that which might be politically expedient or professionally safe. this is one of those times. by acting within existing authorities to improve our enforcement capacity for laws that are already on the books, by enacting common sense legislation to strengthen our ability to stop guns from falling into the wrong hands and to stem the proliferation of military-style weapons and high capacity magazines, i'm not only confident that we can and that
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we will make significant strides in reducing the violence that too often fills our headlines and afflicts our communities. this administration is determined to take our gun violence prevention efforts to a new level, and we're eager to work with leaders like you in advancing the conversation about how we can put an end to these crimes and secure a brighter future around all those who we are privileged to serve. now, to this end in addition to implementing the orders and advocating for the legislative actions that the president announced on wednesday, my colleagues and i remain committed to standing with america's mayors in strengthening anti-violence initiatives that are already underway. since 2009 this commitment has led the justice department to award more than $3.5 billion in state and local -- to state and local partners through burn jag, a program that helps keep officers on the beat and equips them with the latest tools and technologies. over a similar period, the
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department's community-oriented police servicing or cops hiring program awarded more than $1.5 billion to create or to protect 8,000 jobs in law enforcement. we are seeking $4 billion more in our next budget. our officer safety working group has also been forging stronger relationships with officers and law enforcement organizations across the country and building a platform for researching the threats that they face on a daily basis. under a groundbreaking training and technical assistance program called valor, we're enabling officers to anticipate, to prevent and to survive violent encounters. and thanks to initiatives like the bulletproof partnership program, we're helping to provide law enforcement with equipment that is, quite simply, saving lives. and based on the recommendations of our defending childhood task force, we're bringing a varian varian -- variety of partners together, expanding screening
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and assessment of at-risk children and supporting research to help combat unacceptable levels of violence among and directed toward our nation's youth. now, there's no question that we can be proud of these and other current efforts to reduce violence and victimization, but as you've been discussing this week and as the president has made quite clear, we cannot yet be satisfied -- and this is clearly not a time for us to become complacent. when it comes to combating gun violence, preventing future tragedies and insuring the safety of our citizens and first responders, each of the leaders in this room has both the power and the responsibility to make a powerful, positive difference. despite the challenges and the frustrations that we may face and the disagreements that may at times divide us from one another, we all have essential roles to play in driving the critical debate that is unfolding across our nation. and every one of us has been given a rare chance to strengthen this nation and help determine its future.
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so as we conclude today's session during the 81st winter meeting of the u.s. conference of mayors and begin planning for the 82nd, i urge you all to seize this moment. i ask that you keep up the conversations that have been begun this week and pledge to continue working together in pursuit of the goals that we all share. and i thank you as colleagues, as partners and as indispensable leaders for your contributions, your service and your ongoing dedication to protecting and improving the lives of those around us. thank you all very much. [applause] >> i know i had several mayors who asked me prior if the attorney general would take
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questions and, unfortunately, he did not and is on a tight schedule, but i mentioned prior to him speaking that there is an official letter from the u.s. conference of mayors on the issue of gun violence and gun safety, ask well more than 200 mayors have signed it. if you are not one of the mayors who has signed on to that statement, you have the opportunity to do so today, and we would be happy to have you as part of that. i'm -- as i mentioned earlier, i'm the may or your of houston -- mayor of houston. texas is a gun-owning state. i personally am a gun owner and believe in the right to bear arms. but i have proudly stood with my fellow mayors saying that there are common sense regulations that we could put in place that
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will make us safer. and i know that some of the mayors in the room today have similar thoughts that particularly those of us in parts of the country who are supportive of personal ownership of weapons to step up and to make our voices heard. mayor, did you wish to address that issue? and if you would state your name first, please. just the button there. well -- >> hold it down. >> hold it -- okay. you got the lucky microphone. go ahead. >> i can speak loudly. [inaudible] we had a conference call one day last week and i spoke with -- [inaudible] just a minute ago. places like tennessee where it's going to be difficult --
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[inaudible] my observation to general holder was that if we could somehow take the washington focus off of it and put the solution and resources down to our citizen -- [inaudible] washington is going to come in and take their guns. and i think we who are on the front lines are in a better position to convince our local spaces that these plans can be implemented without this great fear of a washington force coming in and taking their guns. it would also allow the administration to come up with a package in which given senator
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or senates do not wish to have -- if there are ten items coming out of washington and my senators want six but they don't want four, then they can -- [inaudible] so if we could push it down to the local level, i think we could be much more helpful in getting a package passed. because the fear of taking guns away, speaking for tennessee, it's largely a fear of a national government taking the guns away. they can vote me out of of office quick so they feel that they have more control. so if we could give them power, the local officials, i think that would be helpful x that's what i've been urging the administration to do. >> i think you stated it well. it is a fear of washington more than a fear of their local public officials. mayor mulder, do you want to come over -- here, take my chair and use the mic over here. and then if there are any other mayors who want to weigh in.
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>> thank you, annise. i took the liberty to talk to my police chief and asked him to aaccess because he's been a police chief at a prior community but been with us nearly 20 years. and something that i heard the attorney general mention which now explains one of the questions my chief asked was that he would anticipate that major professional law enforcement organizations would support the report, the recommendations but that it's never mentioned. it's been silent of where the position of the justice department and the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms and explosives. and as we've heard, they haven't met for six years? >> they haven't had a director. [laughter] >> they've been working. >> they need somebody, i guess, to bring them together. but this is probably why the comment about do we have to wait for washington to do something. it seems like it takes way too
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long. but he focused on the three areas that i've heard consistently now for the last week the background checks. every they have to be done to matter who you are. it should be done. that would be one way to make certain no one's slipping through. the assault weapons and high capacity maggen ziens -- magazines are something that what do you need for those? i mean, even hunters would agree that those aren't necessary. and then why can't we actually enforce the gun laws that we now have? it seems like so many places in our country they're kind of ignored. and, or forgotten depending on the climate of your citizenry. so we need to really push and work together because we cannot watch our children be mowed
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down. this is probably the most horrible thing that i've ever, ever heard. i mean, all of these catastrophic events like the movie theater issue, but to walk into a school and shoot first and second graders, there is -- it's just uncomprehensible, and it has to have a reaction. and i think the u.s. conference of mayors is the place to push it. and we need each and every one of you to let your congress member know that something has to be done, or there are going to be -- they're going to be considered do nothing. this is too big to push around and debate for weeks and months and then do nothing or do half-baked. address it. >> thank you, mayor. is there anyone else who wishes to -- [applause] thank you. i see someone over here, and my
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co-chair, frank cownie, did you have anything to weigh in on this as well? one or the other? >> the only thing that i would ask all of us, and i think the discussion, and i've had discussions with our chief of police and certainly we've all gone over a lot of issues that we are concerned about. when we talk about assault weapons, having been in the military myself, i'm not as concerned -- although i know a lot of people are -- with how the weapon looks. i'm most concerned about how it operates. when i pull the trigger in my -- is there one bullet coming out? are there three bullets coming out? are there a whole hot of bullets coming out? and to me, that's what draw, makes the difference between a military-style weapon. i'm less concerned about whether it's got a hand grip or or has this or that. i want to know if i'm looking at a weapon, and i know everyone's got one that's throwing out a
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lot of bullets at me, it's a totally different piece of equipment. >> you know, sir, and i know that my own police chief and the major city chiefs are particularly interested in thing like armor-piercing bullets and wanting to outlaw those. sir. >> tony -- [inaudible] mayor of the city of sunnyville. i think it's admirable that mayors sign letters to push out congressional leaders in the forefront, and i have a question and a statement. i don't know how many local cities have ordnances in their own cities or tried to develop or push ordnances that would address high capacity magazines, that would address background checks. and i think what would help our congressional leaders and our president move forward if mayors, as i am doing with my own city attorney, are drafting a local ard announce that would make -- ordnance that would make those kinds of things illegal in my own city. i think more and more mayors if they pass local ordnances, that would send a message to
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congressional leaders, and they would know they have the support on the local level. i don't know, and i'm asking the question how many mayors in their own cities have ordnances that address those issues. >> let me -- i can't speak for -- >> california. >> [inaudible] have all passed laws which preempt local governments. so, again, this is why west virginia got to support -- we've got to the support the administration. in setting the vision and the tone and making the resources available which would then -- if we had the resources, we would not have to pass, if i had the resources to enforce the laws and to build the jail space that's necessary to get the folks off the street, i wouldn't need any more laws passed. it's resources. that's why the cops gram, that's why the technology, that's why the school resource officers. so again, and there are very few
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people who are opposed to more police officers, there are very few people opposed to more cops on the street. and, again, this is why i hope we'll come up with an approach that will be based on at the city's option -- if you don't want what the feds are offering, that's your business. but if we get the resources even with the laws the way they are, we can make a big dent in this. and get around all those state preemptive laws also when you do grsh. >> mayor, and i don't know if there are other may or yours who have the ability to do what you're describing. i'm looking around the room, i think california may -- >> we have restrictions on ourselves also in what we can do, but there are a lot that are not keeping us handcuffed. for instance, private sales. we have our gun shops in town, but then we have ongoing private sales between individual cities -- citizens. and we have no way of looking at it. so the ordnance we're proposing
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is that if a private sale made, that individual has to report it to the department of public safety or police department. and when that sale is made, that individual buyer has to go rebelling orster that gun with the local -- register that gun with the local gun shop. those are things we can do that are not restricted by state or federal ordnance that we can't touch. trying to ban assault weapons, that thing's moved all the way up to the supreme court, and we know that. but dealing with high capacity magazines, dealing with making private sale other thans register with the police department they've told the gun and then put a burden on them that -- and we're looking at in this language -- if that private sale is not reported and that gun is use inside the commission of crime, that that person could be held liable for that. so i think there's a lot of things we could do to start strengthening and making it tougher for these things to happen. we just can't rely on congress, and i give all my blessings to
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the president to see if he can get things through. but we just can't rely on him, and that's what we've been doing for years and year, relying on federal laws to help us. i think it's got to be reversed. i think the local mayors need to start passing ordnances that they know they can pass that will start restricting these things like high capacity magazines. and i worry about -- my daughter's a police officer in lapd, and i ask her what's e the amount of rounds that you legally can carry in your gun as a police officer. it's 15 rounds. we're taking 15 rounds up against an automatic weapon is like taking a knife to a gunfight. it doesn't work. so we've got to level the playing field. so why not pass local ordnances that restrict the amount of ammunition or high capacity? and i think mayors can do that. anyway, that's my two cents. >> we're running close to the end of our time here today. is there anybody else who needs to weigh in on here? yes, sir, mayor raleigh.
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>> i think it'd be unfortunate -- >> if you would just punch the microphone button. of. >> [inaudible] >> all right, go ahead. >> i think it would be unfortunate if there was an impression in the country that local officials aren't doing something they can do in asking the federal government to do it, because in south carolina we could not do that, and i think you'll probably find most states in the country have some level of preemption. in our state the ability to regulate that is a state function. so we are, our only option -- and i do think this is a national matter that really requires a uniform approach and consensus. >> [inaudible] >> your name, please? >> oh, i'm -- [inaudible] new jersey. i agree with the mayor.
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we may not be able to have the enforcement power or any -- but we will be telling our congress people that we stand behind them. and in our community one of my close friends happens to not only be an nra member, but a gun dealer, and he is in favor of what we are proposing. and one of our young men who grew up in that town was one of the police officers in brooklyn that was shot two weeks ago. and the only thing that saved him was his -- [inaudible] that was the only thing. and we have to protect our children, absolutely, and that is the most tragic thing. we have to protect our police officers as well. >> one of the things i think we can think about even in those states where we don't have the ability to preempt state law on some of these issues is that our police departments are major
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purchasers of weapons and ammunition. and when gun manufacturers, ammunition manufacturers weigh in on this issue, i think as major customers we have the opportunity to engage with them. and one of the things that i'm going to go do when i get home is sit down with my police chief and my purchasing department, and we're going to figure out just what our spend is annually on guns and ammunition. and i think as mayors if we start putting our dollars out there, that we too are a voice that the industry should be engaging with and listening to. i thank you for your time and attention today and thanks for being a part of this meeting. if you have issues that you'd like to see the criminal and social justice committee address, please, shoot me an e-mail, shoot laura an e-mail or talk to one of my co-chairs. and, actually, before we all e,